Peoples Digest Online- Spending just 20 minutes less sitting a day boosts overall health, new research reveals. Being less sedentary for 20 minutes reduces blood sugar levels and improves cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease, a study found. It also helps to maintain leg muscles, which can diminish with prolonged inactivity, the research adds. Researchers argue even busy parents can set an example to their children by being less sedentary. Lead author Dr Arto Pesola from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, said: ‘This study shows that it is possible to reduce the sedentary time of people in a busy phase of life.’ How the research was carried out The researchers analysed 133 office workers with young children. The study’s participants were given counselling on how to reduce their time spent sitting, and increase activity during their work and leisure time. Their sedentary and activity levels were assessed via a waist-worn device for seven days a week, five times during the study’s year duration. Just 21 minutes improves cholesterol and muscles
Results reveal that reducing sitting time by 21 minutes a day lowers blood sugar levels. Cholesterol levels, which are linked to heart disease, also improve. Spending just 20 minutes less sitting down is also enough to maintain leg muscles, while remaining sedentary reduces limb mass. Dr Pesola said: ‘This study shows that it is possible to reduce the sedentary time of people in a busy phase of life. ‘Parents may think at first that spending time with their children is away from their own physical exercise. ‘However, that way they can reduce sitting time and show a good example to their offspring about a physically active lifestyle.’ The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.